Apple Watch Series 6 Apple Watch SeSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

What you need to know

  • A new report says the Apple Watch dominated the smartphone market last year.
  • It accounted for 40% of smart watch shipments in Q4, the next closest competitor was 10%.
  • Shipments for the year grew by 19% to 33.9 million.

New research says the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE helped Apple to swipe 40% of the smart watch market in Q4 of 2020, as shipments climbed nearly 20% across the year.

From Counterpoint:

Impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, global smartwatch shipments in Q4 2020 saw a slight YoY decrease to book an almost flat 2020, according to Counterpoint Research's latest Global Smartphone Shipments Tracker. In a year where annual growth inched forward at only 1.5%, Apple maintained its solid number one position and increased its market share by 6%pts, helping shift the overall market closer to the premium segment.

In an otherwise down year, Apple was the only company that saw growth, increasing its market share in Q4 from 34% to 40% year on year, in part thanks to its two most recent models:

The Apple Watch Series 6 and SE did well, shipping 12.9 million units and accounting for 40% market share in Q4 2020. Samsung increased its share by 1%pt YoY, rebounding in the latter half of the year with the launch of its Galaxy 3 Watch.

Overall, Apple reportedly shipped 33.9 million units of the Apple Watch in 2020, a 19% increase on the 28.4 million it shipped in 2019. Apple's success, in part, is reportedly down to a shift towards more premium and expensive models:

There has been a significant market shift to more expensive watches, with premium vendors like Apple, Samsung and Garmin helping to shore up the high end. Counterpoint Senior Analyst Sujeong Lim said, "Price band dynamics during Q4 2020 indicate ASPs (average selling prices) are on the rise. 2019's biggest segment ($101-$200) shrank by 7%pts, while the more premium $300-plus segments grew by 8%pts, helped tremendously by Apple, which enjoyed a dominant market share of over 70% in this category."

Clearly, users are favoring more premium Apple Watch models like the Series 6, our own pick for Best Apple Watch in 2021.